Games feature USC vs. Stanford, Ohio State vs. Oklahoma, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame and Cal vs. Texas

NEW YORK, New York – September 13, 2016— In its continuing effort to help educate fans on how important the offensive line is to winning football, the Joe Moore Award is featuring four games in this week’s “Big Ugly Spotlight”. The list for Week three features games that will be played under the Saturday night lights, including USC vs. Stanford, Ohio State vs. Oklahoma, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame and Cal vs. Texas.

On a weekly basis, the Joe Moore Award will provide analysis for the upcoming weekend’s featured games. Stay tuned for Joe Moore Honor Rolls, which will recognize outstanding offensive line play, culminating with the announcement of the 2016 winner of the Joe Moore Award after the conclusion of the regular season.

Also, this week we are introducing our Spotlight “Power Breakdown” featuring in-depth analysis provided by the team at The Scouting Academy, an online-based instructional curriculum whose instructors bring over 350 years of NFL front office and coaching experience.



In this big, early-season Pac 12 matchup, the young Stanford O-line unit will look to continually improve in front of All-American Christian McCaffery. The USC unit, which is working to live up to its lofty pre-season expectations, will focus on pass protection against one of the best pass rushing defenses in the country.

USC Offensive Line Unit Overview:

The USC Trojans’ run a pro-style offense that employs both Zone and Power running concepts combined with quick screens, play action (PA) passes, and Rollouts. They run a six-man protection scheme on 3rd downs using the back as a check/release option. The USC offensive line is at its best when it’s a power-blocking unit, as that utilizes their play strength and drive blocking ability to move defenders at the point of attack (POA). The leader on the offensive line for the Trojans is LT Chad Wheeler, who displays good initial burst off the ball and is at his best in Pass Protection, where a smooth transition in his kick-slide and good play strength work to drive defenders off the line of scrimmage (LOS). The Trojans have had to move some pieces around early in the season and go to their number two center on the depth chart, Nico Falah, due to a torn ACL suffered by starting Center Toa Lobendahn. Injuries were a problem in 2015 for this unit as well, but they finished the year strong and have a chance to do so again in 2016.

Stanford’s Defense Overview:

Stanford plays a “3-4 defense” that uses a multiple front, using up to six different defensive linemen with three linebackers rushing from the edge. Stanford’s defensive line overall gets off the ball solidly with the ability to use their hands well. Solomon Thomas (#90) plays all over the interior of the left side of the line and is undoubtedly the most athletic and explosive defensive lineman the Cardinals have. He provides good play strength at the POA and demonstrates his ability to put consistent pressure as an interior rusher. Harrison Phillips (#66), who is the Cardinal’s nose tackle, will also make plays on the interior of the LOS using a solid bull rush to collapse the pocket with good play strength to reset the LOS.

Stanford Offensive Line Unit Overview:

Stanford utilizes a power run game built on Gap/Man concepts, looking to create running lanes for Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffrey. Good strength and competitive toughness can be seen across the line with this unit, which returns two starters from 2015 (LT Tucker and RG Caspers). This group features good power and athletic ability, and they’ll be looking to feature the run and shore up some pass protection issues they had in Week 1 against Kansas State.     

USC Defense Overview:

USC showed two primary alignments in its first game against Alabama: an even front with two interior linemen and two stand-up edge defenders, and a 3-4. Noah Jefferson and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu were the starters inside, with Rasheem Green coming in on passing downs and taking the majority of snaps when Jefferson went out of the game in the 2nd quarter with a shoulder injury. Overall, the group shows a good mix of athleticism and power, with Jefferson and Green showing the potential to develop into very good players. Unfortunately, Jefferson is questionable for the Stanford game due to the previously mentioned shoulder injury.


A dominant second half against Tulsa (259 total yards and 4 TDs) showed what kind of performance the Ohio State offensive line can deliver and they look to continue that momentum against the Sooners. After a tough loss to Houston, Oklahoma bounced back big against University of Louisiana-Monroe and will play hungry to show everyone they are still a legit contender.


The Spartan offensive line, led by outstanding O-line coach Mark Staten, will face its first major test of the season on the road in South Bend. The Fighting Irish O-Line unit will work to continue play that has racked up an average of 444 yards and 43 points per game this season, but they’ll have lots to prove against a defense led by linebacker Riley Bullough and defensive tackle Malik McDowell.

CAL @ TEXAS – 10:30pm ET on ESPN/ESPN2

A red hot Texas team comes into the weekend with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2012 and will continue to improve their balanced offensive attack. Despite injuries forcing the Longhorns to play eight different linemen in the first two games, Texas is still averaging 204 yards rushing and 466.5 yards of offense per game.  After a heart breaking loss to San Diego State, the Bears offensive line will look to build on a campaign that has already seen them post a whopping 617 yards of total offense per game, led by QB Davis Webb and their three-headed running beast in Vic Enwere, Khalfani Muhammed and Tre Watson (averaging more than 151 yards rushing, collectively).

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About the Scouting Academy

The Scouting Academy is an online-based instructional curriculum designed to better educate students in the player evaluation process of National Football League teams. Established by former NFL scout Dan Hatman, and taught by instructors with over 350 years of NFL front office and coaching experience, The Academy establishes a new standard in education for students seeking to enter the NFL in a player personnel capacity. By utilizing an online platform, The Scouting Academy offers a 16-week comprehensive curriculum that allows students to develop at their own pace.